APPEASE: to bring to a state of peace or quiet; to cause to subside; to buy off by concessions usually at the sacrifice of principles
Yesterday, Daughter had a treatment at the pediatrician that seemed benign. It was presented as a topical treatment that would irritate her skin and hopefully help her body to eliminate the growths on her neck that were the result of a virus. The doctor convinced her that it wouldn’t hurt and she reluctantly revealed her neck.
Apparently, the “this won’t hurt” promise only applied to the actual application and the time that the doctor had to look her in the eye. When Daughter awoke from her nap, she was screaming and shaking with pain. I did everything I could think of to comfort her, but she was inconsolable. She was completely unable to communicate with words and continued to shriek, cry, and shake. I was horrified.
The doctor’s instructions were to leave the solution on for four hours and then wash it off with soapy water. Three hours and ten minutes seemed long enough, based on Daughter’s intense reaction. Husband and I held our screaming daughter in the bathtub and washed the South American beetle juice off her skin. It was absolutely heart-wrenching. For the first time, I understood why parents are able to say with complete sincerity, “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” Luckily, the soapy water seemed to relieve the pain.
I felt terrible and was willing to do anything to make Daughter feel better and try to make up for the horrible experience. I abandoned several of my parenting principles. First, I offered her macaroni and cheese, despite the fact that a different meal was already on the table. I am a firm believer that children should be offered what the family is eating for dinner. If they are hungry, our kids eat what is served. If they don’t eat, they are usually enthusiastic about whatever is served for breakfast. However, in that moment all I wanted to do was feed my baby girl the most comforting thing possible. If we’d had ice cream, I would have been willing to consider it a vegetable.
Macaroni and cheese seemed inadequate compensation for the trauma. So, I offered to let her eat it in the living room while watching a movie. In our home, all meals are served at the dining table, television is not a food group and movies are shown on Friday nights. Daughter seemed confused. I repeated my offer. Smart enough to know a good thing when she sees it, she carried her napkin to the coffee table and settled in for a delightful TV dinner.
Hopefully, no permanent damage was done by a night of processed carbohydrates in the company of Mickey Mouse. I plan to return to all my principles…as soon as the blisters have healed.